International Criminal Court investigation in Ukraine

Ongoing investigation by the International Crime Court

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Situation in Ukraine
The seal of the International Criminal Court
The seal of the International Criminal Court
File no.01/22
Referred byAlbania, Australia, Austria, and 36 other ICC member states
Date referred25 February 2022
Date opened3 March 2022 (2022-03-03)
Incident(s)Revolution of Dignity and Russo-Ukrainian War
Crimeswar crimes:
crimes against humanity:
Status of suspect

The International Criminal Court investigation in Ukraine or the Situation in Ukraine is an ongoing investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into war crimes and crimes against humanity that may have occurred since 21 November 2013, during the Revolution of Dignity and on an "open-ended basis" during the Russo-Ukrainian War, including the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia, the war in Donbas and the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.[1] The ICC prosecutor commenced these investigations on March 2, 2022, after receiving referrals for the situation in Ukraine from 39 ICC State Parties.[2][3]

Preliminary examination

As of February 2022, Ukraine is not party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).[1] In 2014 and 2015, the government of Ukraine made two formal requests for the ICC to investigate any Russian war crimes and crimes against humanity that may have occurred in Ukraine in the 2014 Euromaidan protests and civil unrest, the 2014 annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, and the war in Donbas. The first declaration was for the dates from 21 November 2013 to 22 February 2014, covering the whole territory of Ukraine. The second declaration requested an extended investigation from 20 February with an open-ended date, again for the whole of Ukrainian territory.[1]

On 25 April 2014, the International Criminal Court (ICC) started a preliminary examination of crimes against humanity that may have occurred in Ukraine in the 2014 Euromaidan protests and civil unrest, the 2014 annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, and the war in Donbas. On 11 December 2020, the ICC Prosecutor found that "there was a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed", that the "alleged crimes identified would [as of December 2020] be admissible", and that there was "a reasonable basis for investigation, subject to judicial authorisation".[4][5]

Referrals, jurisdiction and authorisation

On 25 February 2022, the day after the start of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, ICC Prosecutor Karim Ahmad Khan stated that the ICC could "exercise its jurisdiction and investigate any act of genocide, crime against humanity or war crime committed within Ukraine."[6] Khan stated on 28 February that he intended to launch a full ICC investigation and that he had requested his team to "explore all evidence preservation opportunities". He stated that it would be faster to officially open the investigation if an ICC member state referred the case for investigation,[7] under Article 13(a) of the Rome Statute, rather than under proprio motu of Article 13(c), which would also establish jurisdiction, but would be slower.[7]

Lithuanian prime minister Ingrida Simonyte stated on 28 February that Lithuania had requested that the ICC investigation be opened.[7] On 2 March 2022, Khan stated that he had received referrals from 39 states, enabling Khan to open an investigation under Article 14 of the Rome Statute. Khan stated that the Prosecutor's Office had already "identified potential cases that would be admissible".[2][3] On 11 March, Japan and North Macedonia joined the referrals, bringing the total number of referring states to 41.[8] On 1 or 2 March 2022, the Situation in Ukraine was assigned to Pre-Trial Chamber II of the ICC, with judges Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua, Tomoko Akane and Rosario Salvatore Aitala, who are required to decide whether to authorise the investigation after they receive a request for authorisation from the Prosecutor, Khan.[9]

List of countries that referred the situation in Ukraine to the ICC

The countries that referred the case of war crimes in Ukraine to the ICC include the following:[10][11]

  1. Albania
  2. Australia
  3. Austria
  4. Belgium
  5. Bulgaria
  6. Canada
  7. Colombia
  8. Costa Rica
  9. Croatia
  10. Cyprus
  11. Czech Republic
  12. Denmark
  13. Estonia
  14. Finland
  15. France
  16. Georgia
  17. Germany
  18. Greece
  19. Hungary
  20. Iceland
  21. Ireland
  22. Italy
  23. Japan
  24. Latvia
  25. Liechtenstein
  26. Lithuania
  27. Luxembourg
  28. Malta
  29. North Macedonia
  30. Norway
  31. Netherlands
  32. New Zealand
  33. Poland
  34. Portugal
  35. Romania
  36. Slovakia
  37. Slovenia
  38. Spain
  39. Sweden
  40. Switzerland
  41. United Kingdom

Investigation

Prosecutor Khan stated on 3 March 2022 that an initial team consisting of "investigators, lawyers, and people with particular experience in operational planning" was sent to the "Ukraine region" to begin collecting evidence.[12] On 11 March 2022 he announced that his office had created a dedicated portal through which any person holding information relevant to the Ukraine situation can contact the ICC investigators.[13]

On 16 March 2022, the ICC Prosecutor visited western Ukraine and Poland to personally assess the situation on the ground in Ukraine.[14] During this visit, the ICC Prosecutor met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prosecutor-General of Ukraine, and met the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, virtually.[15] The ICC Prosecutor joined Zelensky's view that every possible effort should be made to ensure that the conduct of hostilities does not give rise to breaches of international humanitarian law, and declared that his office may investigate and prosecute any attacks intentionally directed against the civilian population or civilian objects.[16]

Resources

On 4 March 2022, European Union (EU) justice ministers requested Eurojust to support war crimes and crimes against humanity investigations by national courts and by the ICC. On 23 March 2022, the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs declared that it would provide 500 million of extra funding to the ICC and would increase the support "if need be".[17]

Issues with enforcement

The ICC relies on member countries to assist with investigation and enforcement. However, many countries are not members of the ICC, including India, China and the United States.[18] Russia withdrew from the ICC in 2016, after the ICC ruled that Russia's invasion of Crimea amounted to an "ongoing occupation".[19] Therefore Russia has no legal obligation to cooperate with the ICC and would be unlikely to hand over suspects for trial or prosecution, particularly President Vladimir Putin.[20][21]

Since Russia is not a member of the ICC, enforcing arrest warrants against suspects located on Russian territory is expected to be difficult.[20][21]

The United States has pledged to help the International Criminal Court to prosecute Russian President Vladimir Putin and others for war crimes committed during the invasion of Ukraine.[22][23]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Karim Ahmad, Khan (2022-02-28). "Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Karim A.A. Khan QC, on the Situation in Ukraine: 'I have decided to proceed with opening an investigation.'". ICC. Archived from the original on 2022-03-03. Retrieved 2022-03-03.
  2. ^ a b "Ukraine invasion: International Criminal Court investigates alleged Russian war crimes". South China Morning Post. 2022-03-03. Archived from the original on 2022-03-04. Retrieved 2022-03-04.
  3. ^ a b Khan, Karim Ahmad (2022-03-02). "Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Karim A.A. Khan QC, on the Situation in Ukraine: Receipt of Referrals from 39 States Parties and the Opening of an Investigation". ICC. Archived from the original on 2022-03-04. Retrieved 2022-03-04.
  4. ^ "Preliminary examination – Ukraine". International Criminal Court. 2020. Archived from the original on 2022-02-24. Retrieved 2022-02-24.
  5. ^ "Russia, Ukraine & International Law: On Occupation, Armed Conflict and Human Rights". Human Rights Watch. 2022-02-23. Archived from the original on 2022-02-24. Retrieved 2022-02-24.
  6. ^ "ICC says may investigate possible war crimes after Russian invasion of Ukraine". Thomson Reuters. 2022-02-25. Archived from the original on 2022-02-25. Retrieved 2022-02-25.
  7. ^ a b c Borger, Julian (2022-02-28). "ICC prosecutor to investigate possible war crimes in Ukraine". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2022-02-28. Retrieved 2022-03-01.
  8. ^ "Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Karim A.A. Khan QC, on the Situation in Ukraine: Additional Referrals from Japan and North Macedonia; Contact portal launched for provision of information". icc-cpi.int. International Criminal Court. 11 March 2022. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  9. ^ "ICC Presidency assigns the Situation in Ukraine to Pre-Trial Chamber II". International Criminal Court. 2022-03-02. Archived from the original on 2022-03-06. Retrieved 2022-03-12.
  10. ^ "Russia referred to International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Ukraine". inews.co.uk. The i. 2 March 2022. Archived from the original on 6 March 2022. Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  11. ^ "Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Karim A.A. Khan QC, on the Situation in Ukraine: Additional Referrals from Japan and North Macedonia; Contact portal launched for provision of information". icc-cpi.int. International Criminal Court. 11 March 2022. Archived from the original on 11 March 2022. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  12. ^ "ICC prosecutor: Team leaves to investigate war crimes in Ukraine". Thomson Reuters. 2022-03-03. Archived from the original on 2022-03-04. Retrieved 2022-03-04.
  13. ^ "Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Karim A.A. Khan QC, on the Situation in Ukraine: Additional Referrals from Japan and North Macedonia; Contact portal launched for provision of information". International Criminal Court. 2022-03-11. Retrieved 2022-03-22.The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) Contact Pathway can be reached here.
  14. ^ "Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Karim A.A. Khan QC, on his visits to Ukraine and Poland: "Engagement with all actors critical for effective, independent investigations."". International Criminal Court. 2022-03-16. Retrieved 2022-04-14.The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) Contact Pathway can be reached here.
  15. ^ "Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Karim A.A. Khan QC, on his visits to Ukraine and Poland: "Engagement with all actors critical for effective, independent investigations."". International Criminal Court. 2022-03-16. Retrieved 2022-04-14.The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) Contact Pathway can be reached here.
  16. ^ "Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Karim A.A. Khan QC, on his visits to Ukraine and Poland: "Engagement with all actors critical for effective, independent investigations."". International Criminal Court. 2022-03-16. Retrieved 2022-04-14.The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) Contact Pathway can be reached here.
  17. ^ "International Criminal Court investigation into crimes committed in Ukraine (23 Mar. 2022)". Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. 2022-03-23. Archived from the original on 2022-03-24. Retrieved 2022-03-24.
  18. ^ Felter, Claire (23 February 2021). "The Role of the International Criminal Court". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  19. ^ "Russia withdraws from International Criminal Court treaty". BBC. 16 November 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  20. ^ a b Shelton, Tracey (10 March 2022). "What constitutes a war crime and who could try Russia for alleged crimes committed during its invasion of Ukraine?". Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  21. ^ a b Brissenden, Michael (4 March 2022). "Putin has been accused of committing war crimes. But could the International Criminal Court bring him to justice?". ABC News. Retrieved 16 March 2022.
  22. ^ "U.S. looks to assist war crimes prosecutions targeting Russian leaders". The Washington Post. 25 April 2022.
  23. ^ Orentlicher, Diane (10 May 2022). "The case for a Putin war crimes trial". NBC News.

External links

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